White Sox-Cubs drama: Alejandro De Aza thinks Manny Corpas hit him on purpose

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White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza and Cubs reliever Manny Corpas are off-field friends, but that didn’t stop them from creating some drama in the Chicago interleague series yesterday.

With the White Sox up 7-0 in the eighth inning Corpas came into the game and plunked De Aza on the leg with his first pitch, presumably because Alex Rios attempted a stolen base up 6-0 in the previous inning. Or something.

Whatever the case, De Aza said afterward that he thinks it was intentional:

I don’t know, but the way he threw that ball, I think it was on purpose. I did face him before. Actually, me and that pitcher, we’re cool, we’re friends. I’ve known him for a long time. I think they just told him to hit the first guy.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum predictably downplayed the topic when asked, saying: “I don’t know. He hit him. It happens sometimes.”

Yes, “sometimes” like when a manager tells a pitcher to hit a batter in a blowout.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.